“William Jennings Bryan: A Difference Maker” Brings Influential Politician’s Story to Life

When Corrine Livesay came to Bryan College in 2003 with her husband, Dr. Stephen Livesay, she realized that many people were either unaware of William Jennings Bryan’s place in history or held an impression skewed by fictional satirizations (the most well-known being “Inherit the Wind,” a play based on the Scopes Trial). With this in mind, she set out to write a book that examined more than just the final days of Bryan’s life, with the goal of helping readers gain a more holistic view of the man who was both an influential American and the college’s namesake. 

Putting together such a book required extensive gathering and cataloging of information. In addition to traditional forms of research, Mrs. Livesay sought out and captioned 125 photos to add visual interest to the book. This significant number of photographs required acquiring rights, finding high-resolution copies, and pairing the right information with the right image. Mrs. Livesay also traveled to locations where Bryan lived, touring locations in Asheville, NC, Lincoln, NE, and Miami, FL. In addition to visiting Bryan’s frequented locations, she also explored Bryan family cemeteries and combed through historical records in each city. 

“William Jennings Bryan: A Difference Maker” is written in a unique, thematic presentation as opposed to the conventional chronological approach. The chapters are divided into five parts: 

 (1) Bryan’s family life and preparation for a life of service, (2) his political career, (3) his exceptional communication abilities, (4) the callings and crusades he pursued during his final decade, and (5) his place in America’s historical memory. In addition to printed material, the book features a free Web Companion that provides access to videos, audio, eBooks, letters, and articles to enrich the reader’s experience and continue to expand on Bryan’s life. 

“I believe Bryan is a role model for the kind of students Bryan College seeks to produce,” Mrs. Livesay commented when asked what inspired the title of her book. “Those who are ‘servants of Christ’ who ‘make a difference in today’s world’. The book provides evidence of Bryan’s strong faith and servant’s heart. Bryan earned the right to wear the moniker of ‘A Difference Maker’ because of the many ways that he significantly impacted education, religion, politics, and American culture during his 30 years in the national and international spotlight.”

“I hope readers will come to appreciate the life and legacy of this great man,” Mrs. Livesay continued when asked what she hopes readers will take away from the book,and that they will be challenged to be difference makers in whatever realms of influence they walk and live and touch people each day.”

To purchase a copy of William Jennings Bryan: A Difference Maker, go to bryan.edu/wjb and click the “Order Book Here” option.

For those who live near Bryan College campus, visit the Campus Store on the first floor of Mercer Hall, M-F, 9-12 and 1-4 p.m. 

Dayton residents can also pick up a copy at the local ArtCrafters and the Rhea County Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum downtown.

All proceeds go to support the Bryan Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Book design by Curtis Jolley.


Stophel Center Grand Opening Set for Oct. 4

Image of Glenn Stophel
Glenn Stophel

The Stophel Center of Bryan College will hold its grand opening on October 4, 2019 at 4 p.m. The Center is named in honor of long-time supporters Glenn and Jackie Stophel, former Chattanooga residents.

Glenn Stophel served as a member of the Bryan College Board from 1978 to 1986 and again from 1992 to 2010. He served as Chairman of the Board from 1996 to 2003 and also served as Legal Counsel to the College. Presently, Stophel serves as Trustee Emeritus in honor of his many years of valuable service to the College.

Mr. Stophel has not only provided leadership and support to Bryan College but also to the entire Chattanooga community. He currently serves as President and Director of the Clifton and Clara Ward Foundation, President and Director of the Joe and Velma DeWitt Foundation, and President and Director of the Weldon F. Osborne Foundation. He is past President of the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga, past Chairman of the National Center for Youth Issues, former Member of the Chattanooga Rotary Club and has served on many other non-profit Boards. He previously served as a member of the House of Delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association and was appointed by President Gerald Ford as a member of the first Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation.

Stophel received his J.D., from The University of Tennessee College of Law and his B.S. degree from Bob Jones University. He is a member of the Chattanooga Bar Association and formerly a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, and the American Bar Association.

Bryan College Board Chair Delana Bice said, “Mr. Stophel has provided invaluable leadership over the last four decades to Bryan College. He has led by example, remained constant, consistent and committed to what was always in the best interest of the College. It is with great appreciation that we honor Glenn and Jackie Stophel.”

President Stephen Livesay noted, “We are pleased to honor both Glenn and Jackie Stophel and look forward to welcoming visitors to our campus at the center that bears their name.”

The Stophel Center is a two-story building that encompasses 18,000 square feet and is located at the top of the new entrance, making it the first building to greet arriving guests to the campus. The building is home to 25 offices including Admissions, Advancement, Marketing and Executive Offices, as well as a banquet facility.

The Grand Opening ceremony will be held at the Stophel Center at 4 p.m. Friday, October 4. It will be the first event of the 2019 Homecoming weekend of the College.

Bryan College Announces Dr. Douglas Mann as Next President

The Board of Trustees of Bryan College announced that Dr. Douglas F. Mann, who currently serves as Vice President for Academics and Provost will become the college’s next President in July 2020. He will take office upon the retirement of Dr. Stephen Livesay.

Mann is a 1992 graduate of Bryan College and earned an M.A. degree in Christian Thought from Trinity International University. He later received his Ph.D. in history from The University of Georgia. Prior to joining the leadership of Bryan, he served in various leadership roles at Liberty University including  Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Administrative Dean for Graduate Programs and Dean of the Graduate School at Liberty University.

During that time, Mann provided leadership for academic administration and operations in the creation and implementation of more than 100 new graduate programs. Dr. Mann was engaged in all facets of graduate education including the review and improvement of curriculum; providing leadership in monitoring University compliance with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); oversight of the university’s Research Ethics office; and, provided support of faculty research that garnered more than $150,000 of internal funding through the graduate school. As an historian of the British Atlantic World, he also has extensive teaching and research experience in higher education. Upon taking office next year, Mann will become the eighth president of Bryan College.

Board of Trustees Chair Delana Bice said, “When President Livesay shared his plan to retire next summer, we knew we needed a leader who could continue the vision of growing the footprint of the campus while becoming a top-of-mind choice for potential students. In addition, we knew we needed someone who could challenge and encourage our staff as well as continue the community engagement that has been so important to our college’s success. Dr. Mann was without a doubt, our top choice to meet our needs and position Bryan for a very successful future.”

“As I returned to the college that laid the foundation for my own future, I realized the magnitude of doing the same for present and future students. Dr. Livesay has created significant partnerships that resonate around the globe as well as programs that meet the needs of today’s students. In addition, he has added departments and programs as well as established a strategic plan adopted by trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students,” Mann said.

He noted, “Dr. Livesay’s leadership garnered a significant gift to establish Bryan’s engineering program and next month, we’ll celebrate the opening of the Stophel Welcome Center. None of these things could’ve happened without his effective and passionate leadership and I am honored to work with him over the coming months to provide continuity in the vision for Bryan College’s future.”

Bryan College currently has 1,450 enrolled students and with the recently announced 40% tuition reduction, is looking to potentially double that number within the coming years. “Dr. Livesay led the effort that would reach out to students who might not have been able to afford higher education,” said Bice. “His visionary leadership has brought our school through some challenging times and prepared us for a future that will be nothing short of extraordinary. As a board, we appreciate Dr. Livesay’s hard work and know Bryan College is in very capable hands with Dr. Mann.”

She added, “Our students are taught to go out into the world to serve Christ. Dr. Mann’s experiences and expertise garnered throughout the years have prepared him for this next step and we are blessed to know that he has been led to serve his alma mater as our next leader.”

Dr. Mann and his wife, Susi, have four children, two of whom are current students at Bryan.

Bryan College Ranked Among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges

Bryan College recently earned four rankings in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings that lists the nation’s top achieving colleges and universities. In the report, Bryan was ranked in four categories, including: Best Regional Universities – South (#47–tie), Best Undergraduate Teaching (#31–tie), Best Value Schools (#30), and Top Performers on Social Mobility (#23–tie).

From the rankings:

“Bryan students can gain relevant career skills, build their resume, and experience both leadership and service through (but not limited to) several distinct college programs, including international internships. Bryan College is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and takes an unapologetic stand for Biblical Creationism and a Biblical understanding of American Constitutional law.”

Bryan also earned a ranking for for its online Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program. In the “Best Online MBA Programs” category, Bryan was ranked #215 out of 301 schools.

“The rise of Bryan College in the U.S. News rankings illustrate the success of the college’s continued efforts to provide high value educational opportunities to students in our region,” said Dr. Douglas F. Mann, Academic Vice President and Provost of Bryan College. “As a comprehensive regional Christian college, we strive to provide students not only with the opportunity to enroll at Bryan but also with the support necessary to see them graduate on time and achieve success in their communities and in their professions. We are proud to see these efforts reflected in the U.S. News rankings.”

The most complete version of the new rankings, data, tables, and lists – including extensive statistical profiles for each school and a search tool to enable prospective students and parents to find the college that best fits their needs – is available on the magazine’s website. The guidebook will be available for sale on newsstands October 15.

To view Bryan College’s school profile from U.S. News & World Report, click here.

About Bryan College 

Founded in 1930, Bryan College is a comprehensive regional Christian college that exists for the purpose of educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world. With programs in Christian studies, humanities, engineering, and online graduate programs, the school provides an exceptional educational experience presented from a Christian worldview. With a recent tuition reduction and commitment to affordability, Bryan College is currently the most affordable private college in the state of Tennessee and surrounding region.


Bryan College Announces Historic Tuition Reduction

Bryan College Announces Historic Tuition Reduction

September 4, 2019 — Bryan College announced a new direction for students considering a private college experience: a 40% reduction in tuition. The historic reduction of $11,000 will take place with the beginning of the 2020 academic year for students enrolled in on-campus undergraduate degree programs. With the change, Bryan College will have the region’s lowest tuition and fees of any private college.

“We know that today’s students and their families are not only seeking the best educational opportunities, but also the most cost-efficient options as they consider their choices,” said Dr. Stephen Livesay, president of Bryan College. “We believe that this action has the potential of more than doubling our student enrollment. We’re excited to be able to offer a college education that is affordable to those who might have believed college was outside of their reach.”

Beginning in the 2020–2021 academic year, Bryan’s tuition will be $16,900 with room and board $7,800. The new pricing model places Bryan College among the most affordable four-year institutions in the state of Tennessee’s public and private institutions.

The new rate will apply to both incoming and returning students enrolled in Bryan’s on-campus undergraduate programs. Academic, athletic and performance-based scholarships will still be awarded to students.

“We’re excited to help students fulfill their hopes of attending a private Christian college and eliminate as much of the financial barrier as possible,” said David Haggard, Director of Financial Aid at Bryan College. “By lowering our tuition, more students will continue their studies and ultimately, become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world.”

No changes are being made to Bryan College’s educational experience to accommodate for the change. The goal is to make the possibility of attending a private college a reality for all students regardless of their situation.

“Our new direction is one that embodies the spirit of Bryan College,” Livesay said. “It’s a game-changer for students; it’s one that provides a path so many would never have had. That’s what has always served us so well throughout our school’s history. ‘Christ Above All’ guides all we do and we are grateful to provide the blessing of a great education to more students than ever.”

To learn more about the new tuition rates, please visit: bryan.edu/newdirection.

Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet, to Visit Bryan Sept. 20

Author photo of Natasha TretheweyCritically acclaimed author, Natasha Trethewey, will visit Bryan College September 20 to share her life journey and discuss her work with faculty, students, staff, and visitors. During her visit, attendees will encounter Dr. Trethewey’s body of work that spans two decades and includes five collections of poetry and one book of creative non-fiction.

“Natasha Trethewey writes poetry that connects personal revelation to national history and moves back and forth between the tragic and the triumphant along the way,” said Dr. Raymond Legg, Chair of the Department of English at Bryan College. “Trethewey asks herself and her readers ‘What’s in your heart?’ and her answer is one of the most engaging and sophisticated bodies of work in contemporary literature.” 

Dr. Trethewey was awarded with a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for her work, Native Guard and was chosen as a United States Poet Laurete in 2012 and 2014. Her other awards include the Inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for Best First Book by an African American poet, the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Most recently, Dr. Trethewey was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. 

She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Northwestern University she is a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and and in 2013 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

September 20 Schedule

All events will be held in Mercer Hall room 312 and are open to the public.

11 a.m. — Interview with Dr. Daniel Gleason

3 p.m. — Lecture on writing

6 p.m. — Poetry reading with commentary; book signing to follow


For more information on Dr. Natasha Trethewey’s visit, please contact Dr. Legg or Dr. Gleason. 

Bryan College Hosts International Speakers for Global Lecture Series

February 1, 2019 – Bryan College’s Center for International Development will feature three international speakers during a global lecture series running this week until the end of February. Social and Environmental Activist Tomas Peciar, will be lecturing this week on An Example of Using Social Activism in Europe to Promote Better Community Life. At the end of February, humanitarian aid volunteer Mar Lopez will lecture in multiple classes on The Continuing Greek Refugee Crisis; Communication Challenges Related to Language, Culture and Religion. Both speakers will present to a variety of classes, including communication, political science, and exercise health science.

Next week will feature Dr. Vaclav Rericha of Palacky University and a member of the Pedagogicka Faculty. Hailing from Olomouc in the Czech Republic, Dr. Rericha is the founder of the Olomouc Training Center, the largest business training center in post-Communist Central Europe. This lecture, titled The Harsh Political, Economic and Social Realities of Communism in Czechoslovakia, will be delivered to communications, philosophy, political science, and history classes.

Bryan College’s Center for international Development has been in operation since 2003. Since then, the CID has organized over 600 international education lectures, seminars, conferences, internships, and projects that expose Bryan students to the realities of working and communicating in an increasingly global world.

Schedules for each lecture are listed below. Contact Dennis Miller, Executive Director of External Relations, with questions (demiller@bryan.edu).

Lecture Schedule

Topic: An Example of Using Social Activism in Europe to Promote Better Community Life

  • Monday, Jan 28, 9am, Y. Rose, Mercer 139
  • Monday, Jan 28, 1pm, Y. Rose, Mercer 110
  • Monday, Jan 28, 2pm, Y. Rose, Mercer 110
  • Thursday, Jan 31, 1:30pm, Palmer, Mercer 241
  • Thursday, Jan 31, 3pm, Clauson, Mercer 128

Lecture title: The Harsh Political, Economic and Social Realities of Communism in Czechoslovakia

  • Monday, Feb 4, 9am, Palmer, Mercer 239
  • Monday, Feb 4, 11am, Palmer, Clauson, Mercer 128
  • Thursday, Feb 7, 8am, Ricketts, Boling, Mercer 115
  • Thursday, Feb 7, 9:30am, Ricketts, Mercer 322
  • Thursday, Feb 7, 3pm, Clauson, Mercer 128

Lecture Title: The Continuing Greek Refugee Crisis

  • Wednesday, Feb 27, 9am, Palmer, Mercer 239
  • Wednesday, Feb 27, 11am, Palmer, Clauson, Mercer 128
  • Wednesday,  Feb 27, 12pm, Ecarma, Mercer 241
  • Wednesday, Feb 27, 1pm, Ecarma, Mercer 137

December Graduates Celebrated at Fall Commencement Ceremony

December 14, 2018 – Friends and family members gathered in Rudd Auditorium on Dec. 18 to watch as nearly one hundred students became Bryan College graduates.

“Mid-year graduations, just days away from Christmas, are always filled with excitement for all of our deserving graduates,” said Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College. “I pray these graduates will live out our, and now their, mission as servants of Christ making a difference in their world. Congratulations to all!”

The ceremony also featured inspirational speeches and music from faculty as they marked the students’ milestone. Vaughn Berger read from Psalm 46, a reminder of God’s ever-present strength in times of difficulty. Musical performances by Jonathan and Jeremy Montoya and Vanesiah Dos Anjos also served to celebrate the occasion.

Rev. Carlos Montoya gave the commencement address. Rev. Montoya is a graduate of both Dallas Theological Seminary and The Masters Seminary. He currently serves as the President, Academic Dean, and Hebrew professor at the Seminary for Expository Preaching in Siguatepeque, Honduras, and is an elder at Bethany Baptist Church. He is married to Lori (Swaim), a 1989 Bryan graduate. His son, Jonathan, is a December graduate. Son Jeremy is also currently attending Bryan.

In total, 97 degrees were awarded: 27 masters, 65 bachelors, and 5 associates. Jonathan Montoya received the Highest Scholastic Record award, an honor that goes to the senior who achieves the highest GPA with at least 112 completed semester hours.
In closing, Paulakay Hall ‘84, Alumni Director, asked the graduates to stay connected with Bryan and use their education to further make a difference in today’s world.

Students to serve through annual Break For Change

January 25, 2019 – Spring Break is around the corner, and once again, several Bryan College students will spend their break serving around the world through Bryan’s Break For Change ministry.

The Break For Change ministry allows students to travel to locations across the country including Opelousas, Louisiana and Houston, Texas, and internationally to Belize, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Germany to make a difference in each community.

“Our goal with Break For Change is more than just a week of service,” said Eric McEachron, Director of Outreach Ministries. “We want these trips to be a catalyst toward new relationships and perspective, and deeper lives of worship, work, and witness for the glory of God. What makes the difference is the mindset and attitude of our students, the example and mentorship of our faculty and staff–who can tie the lessons and work on these trips to what students have already been learning on campus–and our wonderful host partners who immerse students in truly model-worthy ministries. The focus and work of the trips is very different, but each clearly fits our mission as a college and as believers.”

Led by a faculty or staff mentor, each team of students will partner with a local or international ministry that directly impacts its home city. Bryan College has formed long-term relationships through multi-year involvement with each of these ministries, across the country and around the world.

Those ministries include:

  • Opelousas, Louisiana – In partnership with Hope for Opelousas, the Bryan team will join a movement of hope among youth through educational support and tutoring, neighborhood outreach through painting and construction, and intentional relationships. The students will gain firsthand understanding of the Hope For Opelousas motto: “love changes everything.”
  • Houston, Texas – The YMCA International Services is a “front lines” care provider and advocate for refugees, recent immigrants, and victims of human trafficking. The Bryan team will spend time with key leaders in this organization and join them in serving the voiceless and vulnerable. Through in-depth conversations with people of various worldviews, the team will learn to recognize the difference between preconceived ideas and the truth about these marginalized groups.
  • Belize – The ministry in Belize will work among indigenous people in the remote hill country of southern Belize to provide health education and practical solutions to improve lives and communities. The Bryan team will identify local needs, and apply their training in engineering, business, biology, and teaching, toward long-term and holistic community development.
  • Costa Rica – The Bryan team will be engaged with churches affected by the training ministry of Seminario Esepa. The Bryan team will work shoulder-to-shoulder with ministers, participating with them in evangelism, construction, children’s outreach, and prayer services. They will experience and join the amazing movement of God in Latin America, build lasting relationships, and provide encouragement and support to ongoing ministries that strengthen the Costa Rican church and impact the the city of San Jose.
  • Haiti – In partnership with The Hands and Feet Project (H&F), the Bryan team will have the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus with believers committed to being the “best last resort” for Haiti’s 800,000 orphans. H&F invites teams to serve Haiti’s orphaned or abandoned children while also experiencing the beauty and rich culture of Haiti. Sponsored by Bryan’s Business Department and Enactus, the Bryan team will apply business and marketing skills to grow job possibilities for H&F graduates, with the larger goal of contributing to sustainable solutions for the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.

Bryan College Students host Literacy Night at Rhea County Academy

January 18, 2019 – Bryan students from Dr. Lorraine Doran’s Methods of Teaching Reading class held a Literacy Night at Rhea County Academy (RCA) on November 29, 2018. The Literacy Night’s theme was “Camp RCA: Read S’more.” Using this camping theme, Bryan students worked in small groups to teach and prepare activities for either primary or intermediate students.

The students spent time throughout the fall semester preparing for Camp RCA: Read S’more. Creative lesson plans were written and special activities were created to generate excitement about literacy. The Bryan students were given the opportunity to meet with the PreK- 4th grade teachers at RCA during the planning process.  This provided an opportunity for students to present their plans for the Literacy Night to current practitioners, who were able to provide feedback based on their knowledge of their students and personal experience.

Before literacy night began, Bryan students spent time decorating the gym and classroom with tents, camping chairs, lanterns, construction paper fires, and pretend ponds for fishing. RCA students were encouraged to bring their sleeping bags to use in the opening and closing activities. At the start of the evening, everyone gathered in the gym for a few fun and engaging camp songs in order to start to kick off the evening.  Bryan students then took their assigned grade levels to a classroom for beginning the literacy based activities.  Each group selected an age appropriate book that was connected to the idea of camping.  After reading the book, students participated in various activities, such as writing a silly story about camping to practice parts of speech, fishing for sight words, and going on bear hunt to practice sequencing.  Everyone returned to the gym to end the night with a few more silly camp songs and took home a s’more treat bag to enjoy.

The Bryan students received positive feedback both from parents and RCA teachers. RCA students were engaged throughout the night and enjoyed all of the special activities. Our hope is that the students were able to see learning literacy skills is fun!  We hope parents were able to gain some ideas for literacy activities to do at home as well. Camp RCA: Read S’more Literacy Night was a great way for Bryan Education Majors to practically apply what they have been learning in the classroom and  to be able to share their enthusiasm for teaching with the community.